Have fun, but stay safe, during the Azalea Festival

Here’s some things to keep in mind
Wilmington Police will be on high alert with more presence downtown for the festival
Wilmington Police will be on high alert with more presence downtown for the festival(WECT)
Published: Apr. 5, 2019 at 9:58 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - With the Azalea Festival expected to bring a bunch of visitors to Wilmington this week, law enforcement will be on high alert as festival goers have fun — but hopefully not too much fun — downtown.

And while thousands are expected to attend the event, their pets need to stay home.

Lt. Stephanie Boucher with the Wilmington Police Department reiterated the festival’s no pets rule Friday while relaying other security information for the annual celebration.

Security cameras will be positioned on the streets and more than 30 officers are assigned to watch over the festivities, which will include drinking and perhaps some of the bad behavior — like bar fights — and medical issues that arise after some ingest too much alcohol.

“We’re just worried about the fights at bar closing or even before bar closing. That’s our main concern,” Boucher said. “We have enough officers most of the time. We can stop arguments before it escalates to a fight but really the fights are what we’re most concerned of. Other than that, everything should go fine downtown.”

Road barricades all have signs that read “No pets allowed” yet people have ignored the message in the past. If they have pets, Boucher said they will be met by law enforcement.

After the concerts, festival goers tend to go to the bars and some may have a few too many drinks, which can lead to bar fights.

Panhandling may also be more apparent during the festival. While panhandling is not illegal, if panhandlers start to get aggressive or follow someone while asking for money, that is when police will get involved. Police do need witnesses in that case, Boucher said.

Medical issues can also pop up for people when warmer temperatures and large crowds of people mix.

Whatever issues arise, Boucher said WPD and emergency staff are ready to handle them.

Click here for a list of Azalea Festival events.

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